Keisuke‘s chain of restaurants is pretty explosive in its popularity. I remember quite a few years back Keisuke only had a few outlets, and this same branch at Paya Lebar had a short queue. Now they are up to god damn 13 and still opening more outlets, and the queue is actually a thing now. I had to wait about 45 minutes at 6 p.m. in the evening, and when I left the queue is still going strong and perhaps even longer.
The cool thing about Keisuke is each one of those outlets has a special type of ramen. Well, the one at Paya Lebar is more classic – just Tonkotsu.
But before the ramen, let’s look at what else I ordered.
Keisuke Sakura Cola – S$3
Well, this were on offer, so they went for S$2.50, but the usual price is $3.
So Sakura doesn’t only refer to the colour, but actually has Cherry Blossom extract contained in it. Of course, despite the name it doesn’t look anything like Cola, nor does it contain ingredients similar to Cola.
Taste wise, it tastes like normal soda water with a sort of flowery scent. The kind where if you were to close your eyes and and blind taste it, you would guess that the colour is pink. Really quite sweet, and I imagine that with the strong tasting ramen this would be refreshing.
But is it really worth S$3? Nah. I’d much rather buy Gong Cha that is nearby, or maybe something I haven’t tried yet like HeeTea.
Keisuke Gyoza – 3 for S$3 or 6 for S$6
Looks wise, not very impressive since the sides are burnt. It’s not my camera. I tasted it and it actually is burnt on that side.
The wrapper is pretty thin, although large enough that you can clearly see pockets between the filling. Filling is pretty tasty, and is really juicy with pork juices flowing out when you bite it, sort of like a less soupy Xiao Long Bao. I’m hoping the burnt sides isn’t something that I will actually see often, cause otherwise this gyoza is pretty decent.
Keisuke Tonkotsu King Black Spicy Ramen Special – S$15.90 ($11.90 without special)
- Special adds stir fried pork, Seaweed and Ajitama
- You can add other ingredients individually priced as well
- Free Flow boiled eggs
- Free Flow marinated bean sprouts
- I chose Normal for the options of Oily, Noodle consistency and Broth flavour
- They also had an option to not include the Chasiu (what???)
The broth has a thick, creamy consistency. Creamy might be the wrong word, as it is more gelatinous, that really shows the long process of simmering with pork bones. Quite oily in taste, not something you want to drink without noodles, which you can probably order the kaedama for. Very strong cooking aromatics taste (i.e. garlic, onion, and the like which are used in cooking), particularly of sweet caramelised onions.
Black spicy adds a little kick similar to black pepper, but I can’t exactly make out what it actually is by eating it. The spice doesn’t linger or irritate your senses, but sort of just “pops” and go. There’s also some sort of a toasty element to it.
They gave some black and white sesame seeds with a small mortar and pestle if you want to add it into the ramen, along with other condiments like fried onions and chili oil.
My recommendation is definitely add these in for extra oomph, unless you like a cleaner flavour.
The bean sprouts are actually another star of the meal. It is delicious eaten as it is and if you let it warm a little in the broth, adds a different flavour to it.
As for the other toppings, there is perhaps little point to eating the boiled eggs, as those are just normal boiled eggs that don’t add much to the meal.
The special toppings; Ajitama, Chasiu and Seaweed are pretty average compared to the rest of the meal. Ajitama in particular has a really strong mirin flavour compared to other Ajitamas I’ve eaten, but otherwise nothing spectacular. Chasiu is not memorable, but the stir fried pork has more taste that stands up to the already strong flavour of the broth, and is much better with the ramen.
Rating for Keisuke Tonkotsu King Black Spicy Ramen
I rate food based on how far I am willing to travel, as well as whether I think the price I paid for it justifies it. You can read more about why here.
Ramen ratings are perhaps usually going to be a bit unfair for me, since I believe that ramen is one of those things that you should never try to make yourself if you don’t have 48 hours to spare. It’s just not worth the effort, time and price. And if you do make it, it’s still not going to be as good as the store’s.
I’d be willing to travel quite a bit just to eat this. I even waited 45 minutes, and I can see why the queue is so long.
The meal was completely worth it. Of course, I did order something else like the gyoza and the Sakura Cola, which I don’t think deserve the same score. But the ramen special set itself is completely worth it.
Also, with such a high rating it also deserves the shitty fat boi badge. I left the premises completely satisfied.
But I’m just a fat boi… what do other people think?
If the long queues itself aren’t enough to convince you…
DanielFoodDiary thought it was disappointing as a fan since the concept was repeated, but still good and above average.
OrdinaryPatrons thought that BlackSpicy is the best soup in this branch, and you should select Light for “Taste of Soup” and Less oily for “Chicken oil”. Overall, not bad, 3/5.
SethLui (although refering to the Tanjong Pagar branch) thinks that Keisuke Tonkotsu King has the best tonkotsu soup base in Singapore.
FoodNinjaSG thinks that this is one of the better ramens in Singapore, and gives it a worthy 2 ninja stars.
RubbishEatRubbishGrow thinks that Keisuke Tonkotsu King is one of the top 5 Ramens in Singapore.